Project Description

Location: New Brighton, NSW
Completed: 2009
Bedrooms: 3
GFA: 299 m2
Storeys: 2


The site is on a sand spit, wedged in between a tidal river system and a surf beach, in a small north coast village. The 2 storey dwelling is a rebuild on the footprint of an elevated fishing shack, and is nestled directly behind the sand dune crest of a skinny beach. The native spear grass, pig face and the pandanus are the landscaping theme and the garden path is a sandy beach track with a few frangipanis. Views east out over the breaking surf are breathtaking. The dwelling also has full access to the north orientation.


The architectural design is primarily formed around the notion of a surfer’s ‘paradise’. Easy surveillance of the conditions, seconds to grab a board, stumble over the dune and paddle out, and a beach shower with hot water upon the return. The house is simply described as a jetty, with living areas that can be as open or closed as the weather conditions dictate. Of special note is that the heart of the building is a sheltered open deck, for when the sea breeze gets up, and is a perfect sunny winter place to sit and read. That careful design and orientation has meant active heating and cooling has never been required to achieve thermal comfort in this location. This is a house for the young and young at heart, with an immersion in the elements and the cycles of life, that leaves vivid and enduring memories.


The site is in the coastal erosion zone where the sand dunes diminish and rebuild as part of a natural cycle. The beach house is exposed to the maximum corrosive action from the sand, wind and salt water. The house is built almost entirely of spotted gum hardwood and 316 stainless steel connections and fixings. The hardwood was originally treated with a timber preservative, and has aged to an even driftwood grey, the beautiful effects of which were just starting to be noticed after 5 years. Beyond clever selection of materials (and some regularly cleaning of the windows) there is little left to do but enjoy living the beach holiday lifestyle alongside the power of mother nature.